UZWIL, SWITZERLAND — At Microsoft Ignite, Bühler launched MoisturePro, a cloud-based digital service that drives improvements in yield and reduces energy costs and the environmental footprint of thermal processing in the food and feed industry.
According to Bühler, harnessing the power of cloud connectivity, it can deliver a return on investment of $300,000, translating to an annual energy savings of $20,000. MoisturePro is just one of a suite of digital services available on Bühler Insights. Built on Microsoft’s Azure, Bühler Insights is one of the first cloud platform for the food and feed processing industries.
Following a first phase of testing and successful implementation with customers in the United States, MoisturePro is now a reliable and proven service.
“Leveraging the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud technology we can make our expertise available to our customers at every stage of the drying process and drive real change,” said Paul McKeithan, Bühler’s head of digital services. “The food and feed industries face the challenge of consistently achieving the precise level of moisture control for each of their products to meet requirements. MoisturePro uses Microsoft’s Azure IoT cloud platform technologies to build an intelligent drying solution with real-time, continuous moisture management.”
As the product is discharged through a chute, data from moisture sensors is relayed to the dryer control software. Control algorithms immediately and continuously adjust production parameters, so that the optimum moisture content is achieved and maintained throughout while ensuring food and feed safety. Real-time data and dynamic reporting show correlations that support confident decision making.
A significant improvement on the traditional method of manual sampling and adjusting, MoisturePro reduces moisture deviation, improves dryer yield and reduces dryer energy consumption. In an industry where margins are tight and even a small percentage gain can increase profitability, a net increase of 1% in moisture gain in final product water content represents a return on investment of $300,000 a year for a typical feed dryer operation. This translates to an annual energy savings of $20,000.
MoisturePro makes a tangible difference both to the business’s bottom line and its environmental footprint. Food production is the most underestimated factor in climate change, responsible for a third of the world’s energy consumption, Bühler said.
Bühler said its goal is to build sustainable food value chains, reduce 30% of waste and 30% of energy in the processes of their customers by 2020. Digital technologies and services such as MoisturePro are a game changer in striving to achieve these goals.
“The use of digital technologies has revolutionized food and feed processing,” McKeithan said. “These changes have driven huge improvements in quality and efficiency. Now, we are leveraging connectivity to drive the next revolution. With MoisturePro, our expertise is available on an ongoing, real-time basis to our customers, so that we can proactively help to create and sustain improvements. It’s a true partnership.”